Is Limon, Costa Rica worth visiting? What are the top attractions? Well, it depends on which Limon you are speaking of. There is Puerto Limon, which is a port city located in the larger Limon Region. We pulled into Puerto Limon when we took our cruise. However, we did not stay there for long. We ventured into the region of Limon, where we will show you the top attractions to visit. In short, the answer is yes, but there is plenty to know about the region and what it has to offer.
Limon the region and Puerto Limon, the town where many cruise ships come into the port. Costa Rica’s Caribbean side has a great atmosphere and an even more interesting history. Limon is mostly known for its creole and black population. It differs from the rest of Costa Rica. It has a unique set of its own styles, languages, and ways of life.
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The Provinces of Costa Rica
Let me explain. In discussing Limon, it is first helpful if I take a step back and go over how the country is set up. Costa Rica has 7 provinces, which are broken down into 81 cantons. Within those 81 cantons lie 473 districts. Limón province is broken down into cantons and districts. The city of Puerto Limon exists in the canton of Limon, which exists in the province of Limon.
If you’re from the Puerto Limon, you’re technically from Limon, Limon, Limon, Costa Rica.
So to answer the question, should I visit Limon, Costa Rica, you would need to know exactly where that means. Which town are you visiting in Limon? We started in Puerto Limon because we took a cruise. That is an easy way to get to this region in Costa Rica.
The History of Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
This is a hugely significant city in Costa Rica because it is the most important port in the country. This port is located on the eastern coast of Costa Rica on the Caribbean side. It is easily accessible by ship, which is what made it such an important and prominent port for the country.
It has an interesting history dating all the way back to 1502 when Columbus landed at this port while exploring the New World. The port, however, was founded much later, in 1870.
The port itself was used to provide grain and bananas to the rest of the world. We were able to tour a banana plantation on our trip. Nowadays, this city is more famous for its cashews and chocolate, which is an up and coming crop in Limon.
Getting to Puerto Limon By Plane
There is an international airport in Puerto Limon. We drove by it and it is extremely small. The only airline that flies into Puerto Limon, is Sansa. You will have to fly into San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, then take a Sansa flight to Limon. However, if you drive, the trip will take you about 2.5 hours to get to Puerto Limon from San Jose.
However, the trip by car takes you right by many beautiful landmarks, such as the Brava Volcano and the Brauilo Carrillo National Park. It would be well worth it to take a flight that arrives in the morning or you can stay in San Juan overnight, so you can see the sights on the way to Limon.
What Town Do I Stay In Limon?
I might make spend a day or two in Puerto Limon but it would not be where I would stay for my whole vacation. There are many beautiful areas in Limon to stay near National Parks that offer beautiful beaches and jungle habitats that are stocked full of local animals.
The city was also hit by an earthquake that brought hardship to the region. This has given the buildings a bit of a rundown look, although many say this has only increased the city’s charm. One cool thing to see is the coral in Limon was literally pushed out of the sea and can now be seen above the waterline. However, that also means the coral reefs sustained much damage.
This region is also famous for surfing. Playa Bonita beach is nearby. This is a coast famous for its exceptional surfing opportunities.
Personally, when we go back I will be staying as close to Cahuita Park as I can. The City of Cahuita is charming and offers acceptable accommodations near the park and beach. Cahuita has a bit of a bohemian party atmosphere but there are plenty of families there too.
6 Things To Do In Limon, Costa Rica
We took a tour that we booked through Trip Advisor. Full-Day Tour to Cahuita National Park from Puerto Limon offered 5 stops that I felt were of value for our trip.
There was one spot that I would have liked to have stopped that was not on our list, The Sloth Sanctuary.
Hill Overlooking Puerto Limon
I know this does not sound like much but you will get a beautiful view of the city here. This will be the first stop on the tour. I also included a photo I took from our ship. The mountains are amazing in Costa Rica.
Sloths are everywhere in Costa Rica but it takes a trained eye to find them. Two-toed sloths are completely nocturnal. Although three-toed sloths are both diurnal and nocturnal, they’re largely inactive during the day.
Sloths don’t do all that much on the whole, but what they do, they do at night. They move incredibly slow so even when they move it is so slow you may not notice. However, at the Sloth Sanctuary, you will be able to see these cool animals up close.
Tortuguero Canal National Park
The Tortuguero Canal National Park is the third most visited park in Costa Rica. The park has a large variety of biological diversity due to the existence within the reserve of eleven different habitats. You will see a lot in this park, including rainforests, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches and lagoons.
We hopped in a boat and headed down the canals to get to the wildlife. The local inhabitants around the park are only permitted to collect forest products to supplement their income and domestic use. Fishing and tourism are major activities. Regulated guidance to visitors to access creeks, lakes, nature trails, and watching wildlife.
You will see Sloths, Crocodiles, Birds, and Iguanas in the canals. We could hear the monkeys but never saw them on the canals. We did see the monkeys from the side of the road on our way there. Watch our video showing our canal tour through the jungle.
Frutería El Almendro – A Green Grocer
What was cool about it we could learn more about tropical plants and their fruits. We were able to see the actual plants and trees that are native to Costa Rica. We also have some samples of these delicious fruits at a rustic fruit stand before heading on to Cahuita National Park. If you feel like shopping, you can also visit the contiguous souvenir shop.
Finca Comendador – A Banana Plantation
Bananas are a big part of the Costa Rican economy and a big activity in Puerto Limon. Stop beside Chiquita’s banana plantation to learn about cultivating, harvesting and shipping the fruit. The plant was closed the day we went but our tour guide was really knowledgable and told us about how the bananas are managed and harvested.
Cahuita National Park
This was my favorite stop. It was well worth the drive. The next time we go to Costa Rica we want to stay here or someplace similar. There were plenty of mom and pop properties with villas for rent.
It was created in 1970 as a National Monument to preserve the coral reefs off the Caribbean coast. Later, the area was reformed as a national park.
Currently, it relies on donations and does not charge an admission fee. At the park, you will see a wide array of Costa Rican wildlife from raccoons, snakes and lizards to sloths and monkeys. It is really important that you do not feed the animals in the park and protect your food if you bring it. They are very crafty and brazen in getting people’s food so honestly, it is just better not to even bring any in the park.
The Beach at Cahuita
The monkeys and raccoons will try to take your stuff if you leave it to go in the water. You can see in the photo below that people are trying to hide their stuff from the raccoons who, by the way, have no problem coming up to you and taking your things right in front of you.
There are wheelchair accessible paths at the beginning of the park so you can make it in to get to the beaches.
The beach is one of the least developed ones in the country, but there’s plenty of things to see.
It’s a nesting ground for sea turtles, and you can go scuba-diving or snorkeling. Eels, sea cucumbers, manta rays, 3 species of sharks and sea urchins call the coralline reef home. There are at least 35 species of coral, 123 species of fish and many mollusks and crustaceans.
Mas X Menos
This is their Walmart. They actually had Walmart brands. Chocolate is an up and coming crop in Costa Rica. On the drive back our guide had fresh cacao plants for us to touch and feel. She explained about the crop and how Costa Rica is trying to take their place in the chocolate market. Once we arrived back in Puerto Limon she took us to this store since it has the best prices for local chocolate.
You will definitely want to buy more than I did. It had a tangy fruit filling. It was delicious.
G & E Chocolate Adventure Company
Once we left the tour we were dropped off back at the port so we could walk around and see the shops. Before we left the tour guide gave us a coupon for a free cup of coffee. We grabbed our coffee at G & E Chocolate Adventure Company and tried the new cacao lotions and oil they had for sale.
I was able to speak with the owner and he has huge plans for his storefront. He took us upstairs and offered to show us around and explain his plans for a gathering spot with a library, local art, bar and seating.
You will also be able to take tours and learn all about the processing of the cacao beans.
After visiting the cacao shop we headed back to the port where there is a flea market type of venue is set up for shopping and beauty services. You can get anything from massages to pedicures.
The Port Shops
You will also be able to shop right in the port. You will find the usual trinkets, T-shirts and jewelry. At this port, though, they offer massages and pedicures. If you are taking a cruise it can be a huge discount on getting your nails done or getting a massage.
All in all the region of Limon has many national treasures for you to visit. From beautiful beaches, national parks and tons of native animals you will get the full Costa Rican experience in Limon.